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March 6th, 2015

Conservatives keep millions in their coffers instead of investing in Northern Ontario

With the recent wave of jobs losses in Northern Ontario and the province’s uncertain economic outlook the federal NDP is calling out the Conservatives in Ottawa for failing to invest millions of dollars approved for job creation in the region.

From 2010 to 2014, the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) and who administers the Northern Ontario Development Program (NODP), Greg Rickford , left more than of $15 million in approved job creation funds unspent. Last year, the amount of unspent money at the NODP spiked dramatically from previous years to more than $8.5 million or 35 percent of the total annual budget.

“The NODP represents the largest portion of FedNor’s annual budget and its purpose is to promote job creation in Northern Ontario, but in 2013-2014 a full 35 percent of this money was not spent,” said New Democrat Critic for FedNor John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River). “With massive and ongoing job losses in the forestry and mining sectors I’m asking the minister to invest this money in the current year to help create new jobs throughout Northern Ontario instead of slashing this program to embellish his government’s fiscal record in the April budget.”

Local organizations have used FedNor and NODP funding for more than two decades to help boost economic development, create jobs, and improve the standard of living for families across Northern Ontario.

“We know that each year the Conservatives announce new spending plans, but leave much of this money unspent and just sitting in the bank. This deception is hurting young entrepreneurs and stalling job creation in Northern Ontario and across Canada,” added Rafferty.